Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Wine Bucket List

So, my friends and I are sitting around discussing the daily news. As I open the first bottle of wine for the evening I ask, "Has anyone ever thought about a bucket list, you know 10 wines you want to try before your put in the dark cellar?"
Everyone looks at me, swirling their glasses, sniffing the wine at hand, which was an Argentina red blend called Alta Vista Atemporal. Three of us looks at each other and Phil says, "What's your number one?" Jim looks at Phil, "I know what my top two would be. Bryan, tell us your number one."

Well, I could see it in their eyes, dozens of wines rolling around trying to get at the top of the list. "It would have to be Domaine De La Romanee-Conti Romanee-Conti." We all agreed on the same number one.
Kathy asked ,"Are there any specific regions you guys are going with or is it anything goes?"
I say," Whatever floats your boat!"

After hours of debate and three bottles of wine I finalized my list. Some of these wines I have had the opportunity to taste already, the rest are yet to be conquered.

1. Domaine De La Romanee-Conti Romanee-Conti
2. Gaja Barbaresco
3. Bryant Family Cabernet Sauvignon
4. A flight of 2001, 2004, 2007 Antinori Tignanello
5. Clos des Papes Chateauneuf du Pape
6. Harlan Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
7. Penfolds Grange
8. Sassicaia Tenuta San Guido
9. Chateau D'Yquem
10. Chateau Petrus

Of course we didn't agreed on the whole list. I could have made my list 20 deep. But these are wines that always seem to elude me or I have them in my possession and I just can't find the right moment or enough strength to open them.

What would your list look like? It doesn't have to be monetary based, nor does it have to be worldly. Comment if you would like to share.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Godfather

Ten years ago, my family and I visited my nephew in Boston. While walking around town we visited the Quincy Market, stopped by "The Cheers Bar", gazed at the old architecture and strolled around Little Italy.

While in Little Italy we stopped in a wine shop that was having a tasting. We entered the cozy little shop and admired the antique tables and two levels of shopping. We stopped at the tasting table where a young man asked us to try his wine from Sicily.

The wine was called "Furat"; a red blend of Nero d' Avola, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. I remember the flavors being rich and bold, full of dark fruit with the so familiar taste you can only get from Italian wines. We bought a couple bottles for $14 each and left the shop excited to try another bottle when we got home.

Since that day, I could not find a distributor for "Furat" in Ohio, until now.

10 years later, it is my birthday and my wedding anniversary is in two days. I am going to be godfather to my nephew's daughter on Saturday and low and behold I found that "Furat," finally.

I had to bring a bottle to the Christening on Saturday and surprise my nephew.

After the Baptism I showed my nephew the surprise bottle. He shared my enthusiasm and said, "I think we should open this in private, there are many unappreciative palates here." I agreed.

Opening that bottle on that day just mesmerized me. I started thinking about foods that would pair well with my new find; braciola, meatballs, osso bucco, and veal Parmesan.

The color was dark, rich and glistening. Aromas of blackberry, currant, spice and tobacco started drifting around us like ghosts from wines of past. We toasted to his daughter and took a sip. The structure was bold, with soft tannins and a nice balanced acidity. The fruit flavors were dark and scrumpcious. The finish lasted forever! Fantastic, it was better than I remembered.

I give the new and improved 2006 Furat 90 points...this is a wine you cannot refuse to try.

Check out this link to find out where the name Furat came from.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Return to Chateauneuf

Well friends, I have to tell you I had the opportunity to taste two Chateauneuf du Pape last night. The first was the 2007 Clos de l' ORATOIRE DES PAPES.

I thought the fruit was spot on for a hot vintage, similar to the 2003 vintage. The color was a deep maroon red and the wine had intense dark fruit aromas with flavors of plum, raisin, herbs, and spice. I did enjoy the wine.

The second wine was a 1999 Guigal CDP, yes the wine of the year. This is my recommended wine.

The 2007 took no time to show its true colors. While the 1999 decanted for one hour and still needed a little time in the glass to show properly.

The fruit flavors seemed similar to the 2007 but the tannins and spicy notes put this wine over the top. The experience took me back to my 2006 trip to the area of CDP.

I'll give the Clos de l' ORATOIRE DES PAPES 2007, 90 points and the Guigal Chateauneuf du Pape 1999, 95 points.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The End

Dark clouds rain down on me,

Tears from years of misery.

This game called life has been so cruel,

Thinking back was I a fool?

This box I am in has no way out.

No doors or windows to hear me shout.

My only escape is through the light,

It shines within, but fear the flight.

If I sacrifice my soul,

I will never grow old.

But the pain left behind,

Will scald my mind.

Please save the lonely left in the dark.

Walking this earth with broken hearts.

Screams of hope that someone will hear,

Only silence comes before the last tear.

By Bryan Bennington

A Wine in Time

July 1, 2011 7:30 p.m.
It was time.

I waited eighteen years to taste the bottle of Gaja 1993 Sori San Lorenzo that had rested in my wine cellar, waiting, longing to make my acquaintance. Each year that passed brought me closer to this special moment.

I always wanted to share this wine with friends that would appreciate it, but not with too many if you know what I mean? And now, that day had finally arrived. Three of my closest friends had gathered with me in my basement. We were surrounded by stone walls, wine memorabilia, a riddling rack hanging from the ceiling, and bottles of wine on the bar, beckoning our indulgence.

Time was at a standstill.

The food was ready, chicken grilled to perfection, herbed potatoes crisped, and a variety of cheese anxiously called to our pallates. I popped the cork and decanted the wine, anticipating it will take an hour to open. The color was superb, bright brick red with more of a garnet depth. The initial aromas hinted of raspberry, cherry and herb. The wine transformed with each slight pour. The fruit flavors developed into a rich cherry and plum with fine tannins and a savory finish.

The wine was perfect! All four of us had experienced palates and knew at that moment, a Barbaresco could not get better than this. Notes were taken, we finished the wine and thanked each other for the opportunity to experience this wine together.

It is moments like this that have taught me to be patient and wait, because some things in life are worth waiting for.